What do you think of Napoleon Bonaparte?

Discussion in '1800-1914' started by Soundbreaker Welch?, May 9, 2006.

  1. swampyankee

    swampyankee Active Member

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    #61 swampyankee, Apr 10, 2017
    Last edited: Jun 4, 2017
    Napoleon's wife was from one of the [habit landing] slave owning, landed families of Martinique. Return of slavery was much more important than who ruled in Paris.
     
  2. Sir Percy Ware-Armitage

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    Removed by yours truly. It seems the passage flew like a lead balloon. Let's leave it and I would appreciate if the quote of the said ill conceive post are from the board. Thanks. No more "comedy" from Sir P.
     
  3. soulezoo

    soulezoo Active Member

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    Napoleon is still thought of as one of the best, if not the best, military tacticians of all time (not just his era). Up there with Alexander, Julius Caesar and Gen. Patton. His writings are still taught at War College along with Clausewitz and others.
     
  4. pbehn

    pbehn Well-Known Member

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    #64 pbehn, Apr 10, 2017
    Last edited: Apr 10, 2017
    A long time ago I read some books on the Napoleonic era from my local Library. The impression I was left with was this.

    The Napoleonic army when advancing spread out into three fronts and lived off the land to a greater or lesser extent. This was a great military strategy but a poor political one. At a time of great poverty they made enemies of everyone they came into contact with when advancing which they paid for later in occupation or in the case of the Moscow disaster when in retreat.

    Napoleons armies in Spain behaved in a similar way, they quickly gained control but their brutality against a starving population resulted in them needing 900,000 soldiers to oppose a British army of 70,000. After Wellington won in Spain and started to advance through France he bought his way to Paris. Food was bought from the local population and soldiers were hung for rape of French women. This was not on high minded moral grounds but sound military philosophy. Even a big army in Napoleons time was small compared to a nations population and they couldnt feed themselves, providing a military escort for every group of horse drawn carts which may or may not contain food or gold becomes impossible very quickly.
     
  5. soulezoo

    soulezoo Active Member

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    This is quite true. However, (with no attempt here to justify the action by me), this was also the course of many armies for a millennia. Persians, Huns, Mongols, Carthaginians and etc, etc.
     
  6. swampyankee

    swampyankee Active Member

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    I long to be able to imagine what would happen had Hitler invaded France with the French Army run by someone with the skill and acumen of Napoleon. The Germans may not have been able to retreat fast enough.

    Leaving that aside, Napoleon was, in his personality, probably no different from Frederick Barbarossa, Richard the Lionheart, or many of the other preceding warrior heads of state: arrogant, self-serving, greedy, and brilliant at war.
     
  7. yulzari

    yulzari Active Member

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    I believe that Napoleon is best summed up with his own quote:' I have an income of 100,000 soldiers a year'.

    Clever but amoral.
     
  8. swampyankee

    swampyankee Active Member

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    Probably similar things were said, less pithily, by Barbarossa, Richard the Lionheart, and others.
     
  9. soulezoo

    soulezoo Active Member

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    Certainly similar said by Edward I. (Arrows cost money, soldiers don't or words to that effect)
     
  10. soulezoo

    soulezoo Active Member

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    A little OT, but yes, I tend to agree. Air power aside, the weapons available (tanks, artillery and etc.) and the numbers and even can be argued the quality (French tanks at the outset were more heavily armored and up-gunned compared to the German tanks-- of which the Panzers I-III were little more than mobile machine gun carriers or mortars) of those weapons were superior. Hindsight is always in sharper focus, but I believe the French lost due to a lack of thought and initiative.
     
  11. swampyankee

    swampyankee Active Member

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    Far off topic, to be sure, but Napoleon regularly thrashed many of his opponents. I agree with you about why France lost: the German Army was able to get and keep the French and British too confused to be effective across the entire front. Napoleon III certainly inherited little of his uncle/grandfather's military competence. (his father was Napoleon's brother, Louis, and his mother was Napoleon's step-daughter, Hortense)
     
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